The transition into a first or new university can be a difficult one, but Leah Rosenkranz, Peer Advising on the College Experience program coordinator, said having a mentor to help freshmen and transfer students through their first year is beneficial for everyone involved.
“For students who do participate it can be really beneficial and if someone does want to make a difference in the lives of a freshman and helping them transition into the university can be a really great experience,” Rosenkranz said.
Sophomore Bryan Cosio has been involved with the PACE program for two years, first as a mentee and now as a mentor to several current freshmen.
“I didn’t know what to expect out of college because I was a first generation college student,” Cosio said. “I thought this would be a good step to meet some new people and kind of figure out what college was about.”
Cosio said he enjoys being a mentor now because his mentees know he is there for him if they ever need anything, and he had that same experience when he was a freshman.
The PACE program is currently accepting applications to be a mentor for the 2013-2014 school year. Rosenkranz said a deadline has not yet been set, but it is likely the application process will close in May.
The program, organized through the Office of Multicultural Affairs, focuses on multicultural students but Rosenkranz said anyone is welcome to apply to be either a mentee or a mentor.
“We won’t reject anyone,” Rosenkranz said.
All students who receive a diversity scholarship are automatically matched up with a mentor, but all freshman and transfer students are able to apply.
Rosenkranz said the program tries to match people based on their interests and college major. She said the program also hosts socials and workshops to encourage communication between mentors and mentees.
She said those who would like to become mentors are required to maintain a 2.5 GPA and should be outgoing and willing to communicate with their assigned mentees.
“We look for someone who is doing well in their academics … because they need to be a good role model for their mentees,” Rosenkranz said. “Students who are involved … often times make a better mentor as well. They’re more involved and they get their mentees more involved. We’re also looking for mentors who are outgoing and want to help the incoming freshman class be successful.”
She said mentors also receive a small scholarship if they are successful each semester.
“That depends on how they perform as a mentor — if they’re actually meeting up with their mentees, actually showing up to socials,” Rosenkranz said. “If they’re not talking to their mentees or trying to communicate with their mentees then they won’t get that scholarship.”
Rosenkranz said the program coordinators are understanding of students busy lives, so the expectations of mentors are minimal.
“We ask that they attend an orientation to help them be better prepared as mentors. In the past we’ve also had a class that mentors can take,” Rosenkranz said. “And then throughout the school year basically the mentors are asked to meet with or try to communicate with their mentees every other week. If they can communicate with them on a weekly basis, even better, but we do understand that their schedules do get busy.”
Mentors are asked to complete online contact logs detailing their communication with their mentors and any concerns they might have.
Rosenkranz said the program has been successful this semester with 18 mentors and at least 40 mentees.
“Our socials have had really good turnouts and we’ve had really good feedback from mentees about their mentors saying that they have really good relationships established and it’s been nice having an extra person they can count on,” Rosenkranz said.
Rosenkranz said that if students are interested in becoming a mentee for the current semester they can still apply, but applications for 2012-2013 mentors are closed.
Cosio said the best part about the program is that everyone involved genuinely cares about the success of the students — both in the classroom and out.
“And the other thing is Leah genuinely cares to make sure we’re doing well. Not just academically. It’s a pretty good program and I would highly recommend it to any first year student coming into the university.”
Kaitlyn Krasselt can be reached at email@example.com
To apply to be a mentor or mentee for the 2013-2014 academic year visit http://www.uidaho.edu/studentaffairs/oma/programs/paceprogram.